Written by Luke Delaney — We first met DI Sean Corrigan, and his creator, former London Metropolitan Police murder squad detective Luke Delaney, earlier this year in the debut novel Cold Killing. Corrigan is an unusual character. In fact, he’s probably unique in crime fiction. Abused as a child, he uses his past experiences to really get inside the head of a criminal. Which is a dangerous game to play, especially when the baddie in question is as twisted as Thomas Keller, the ‘keeper’ of the book’s title.
This keeper has never played in goal and knows nothing about pheasants. Keller is more interested in young women, who must fit certain criteria. Then, when he finds a female who matches his requirements, he takes her and keeps her. In a cage. In a dark, damp cellar. Oh, and he insists on calling her Sam.
Keller is a disturbing creation. He is secretly evil, but outwardly he’s the sort of man you wouldn’t look at twice, and the kind who neatly fades into the background. So who would ever suspect what he’s up to?
Fear not though, because Sean Corrigan is soon piecing together a picture which should get our man bang to rights. But in the meantime Keller is tiring of his first captive and moving on to another, then another. And he has just two cages so the only solution, when he needs to accommodate a new Sam, is murder.
Due to the machinations of the Met hierarchy, Corrigan and his Murder Investigation Team had already been assigned the case of missing Louise Russell, but it is the body of another woman that is dumped in a secluded forest area. Corrigan realises it is only a matter of time before Louise will be dead too. It’s imperative that he gets inside the head of the killer and finds him and saves his captives.
This is my second Corrigan book, and I’m still not totally comfortable with the idea of a Detective Inspector who has some kind of mythical power to get up close and personal with the evil that men do. This form of method detecting seems far fetched and dangerous to me – Corrigan has a wife and children, so surely he is putting them at risk by letting the evil-doers take over his mind?
That aside, Delaney offers an authentic insight into the minutiae of working a police inquiry and he is a dab hand at creating a gripping plot and canny characters. I’m especially fond of DS Sally Jones, who was a major player in Cold Killing and in The Keeper is still suffering the after effects of that case, which left her badly hurt. She has gone back to work too soon and is suffering psychologically as a result. Well done to the author for his sensitive handling of Sally’s problems.
Sensitivity is a rare thing in this book, though, so be warned. Some of the detail is graphic. This is not a novel for the faint-hearted, but if gritty police procedurals are your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know that the end of The Keeper is already setting us up for another Corrigan appearance – so look out for book number three, coming soon.
The Keeper comes out on 29 August.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars